The Jam

In the City

Song Review by

The Jam were definitely a second-generation punk band, one of the seemingly hundreds of bands that appeared in the wake of "Anarchy in the UK." It's possible that they might even be the band that Joe Strummer sneers at in "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," the band "too busy fighting/For a good place under the lighting" and "turning rebellion into money." (The Jam had been kicked off of the Clash's first major UK tour.) Paul Weller certainly knew how to raise folks' hackles: besides the band's Modish black and white suits, he deliberately raised two fingers to the punk orthodoxy by claiming that the band were going to vote Conservative at the next election. (Given the defiantly Leftist political views Weller would espouse for the rest of his career, one assumes that endorsement was made strictly for shock value.) Regardless, the Jam were one of the first punk bands to make the transition into the mainstream of the British music scene, managing to get onto Top of the Pops with their first single, the brilliantly catchy "In the City." Powered by a memorable guitar riff and Bruce Foxton's prominent bass line, "In the City" is a small marvel, distilling the inchoate roar of the Sex Pistols' and Clash's early sound into a tight little two-minute pop song suitable for radio play, yet with just enough spit and grit to keep the band from losing their punk cred, most notably in Weller's yobbish lead vocal and street-oriented lyrics. They must have been doing something right; not only was "In the City" a reasonable chart hit, the Sex Pistols paid the Jam the ultimate backhanded compliment: "Holidays in the Sun" unashamedly ripped off its main guitar riff from "In the City."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In the City 1977 Universal / Fontana / Hip-O / Polydor 2:19
The Gift 1982 Decca / Polydor 0:00
Snap! 1983 Polydor 2:18
No Image 1984 Media Records
All the Choice Cuts 1990 Universal Distribution / Polydor 2:21
Greatest Hits 1991 Polydor 2:18
Best of 20 of Another Kind 1992
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:19
D.I.Y.: Anarchy in the UK: UK Punk I (1976-77) 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:19
Beat Surrender [Collection] 1993 Polygram 2:20
Beautiful Game [Alex] 1996
Various Artists
Universal International 2:19
Direction Reaction Creation 1997 Polygram 2:23
The Very Best of the Jam 1997 Polydor / Decca / Interscope 2:19
Whatever [Original Soundtrack] 1998
Original Soundtrack
Medicine 2:18
Sinfonie der Sterne, 70ER Jahre 2001
Various Artists
Bear Family Records
Punk & New Wave Explosion 2001
Various Artists
Polygram 2:19
The Complete Jam [DVD] 2002 Interscope
Stranglehold! 2003
Various Artists
Music Club Records 2:20
The Sound of the Jam 2003 Polydor 2:20
Sniffin' Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:16
No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 2:19
Eurotrip 2004
Original Soundtrack
Milan 2:18
No Image 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Jam 2005 Polydor 2:18
Gold 2005 Polydor 2:20
Back to Mine 2006 DMC 2:16
Story 2006 Universal International 2:21
Punk Rock [Universal] 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Singles Box Set: 1977-1979 2006 Polydor 2:19
No Image 2006 Universal / Island 2:18
Hit Parade 2007 Yep Roc 2:20
Spirit of 77: Spirit of Punk 2007
Various Artists
EMI / Virgin TV 2:18
Lost & Found: The Jam 2007 Universal 2:19
Lost and Found: Punk/New Wave, Vol. 1 2008
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:18
No Image 2008 Umc 2:18
Kat's Karavan: The History of the John Peel Show 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music 2:13
BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979: Movement 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:12
Classic Album Selection: Six Albums 1977-1982 2012 Polydor / Universal 2:19
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:19
Teenage Kicks 1977-1981
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:18
The Studio Recordings Universal